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Chinese Elements in Graphic Design

Chinese Elements in Graphic Design

Chinese Elements in Graphic Design

Figure 1 illustrates Chinese print design in the 20th century. Although the history of modern graphic design in China is considerably shorter than the western equivalent, we can see how designers combine Chinese traditional and modern elements: Chinese characters; alphabet; and geometrical shapes. Now with China closer to the international world than ever before it is important for Chinese graphic designers to think about aesthetic ways of combining these elements to appeal on the global market. We’d like to share examples of Chinese elements in graphic design that we see as internationally, moving innovatively forwards.


Fig. 1

Typography

Chinese characters are very different from the Roman alphabet. Roman letters are based on geometric forms, proving efficient for use in modern design, especially in two dimensional forms. Chinese characters are a complex series of drawings evolving from pictograms, where a symbol represents a word or phrase (figure 3).

Within contemporary Chinese design the characters are often utilised primarily as visual forms and written language is supplementary (figure 2). In figure 4 the calligraphic style of Chinese characters no longer forms a known language, but visual structures. Colour and photography gives an international edge, communicating to a wider audience.


Fig. 2

Rise of the legend
Fig. 3


Fig. 4

 

The Roman and Chinese alphabet are simultaneously used, either by adapting Chinese characters to more compatible forms of their Roman counterparts or visa versa. This can be seen in figure 6. “四月天“ has been re-appropriated. The shapes simplified to sit harmoniously with the book’s English title, achieving both form and function. Due to the compound shape of Chinese characters, they provide creative opportunities for visual experimentation (figure 7).

 


Fig. 5


Fig. 7

 

Chinese Symbols

In 1950s and 1960s simplified characters were introduced by the government as a method to increase literary rates across the country. Despite this, traditional Chinese forms are still frequently utilised in modern Chinese graphic design as metaphors of Chinese culture. While introducing traditional symbols on to the global market does place China on the map, misunderstanding and confusion can be caused by magnified use. Figure 8 shows an example of seeking balance between the variations of the language and contemporary design principles. Titled “The Chinese Windows” shows classic regional architecture, with the window as a famous symbol in China. Capturing this element, adding colour, visual space and the mathematical equation of ‘the golden ratio’, a contemporary and versatile response is created. Translating the text would no longer change the meaning, allowing international access.

 


Fig. 6

China has built its place on the international market of contemporary graphic design through utilising its history, traditions and developing alongside western culture. Throughout this development design principles remain as a priority, followed by the incorporation of traditional Chinese elements, to achieve the results seen in this article.

 

References

Figure 1

http://payload51.cargocollective.com/1/2/88505/3328295/03_chinese_graphi...

http://payload51.cargocollective.com/1/2/88505/3328295/24_chinese_graphi...

http://payload51.cargocollective.com/1/2/88505/3328295/20_chinese_graphic_design.jpg

Accessed 07/22/16

[Online Source]

 

Figure 2

http://www.fromupnorth.com/design/31015/rise-of-the-legend/

Accessed 07/22/16

[Online Source]

 

Figure 3

http://www.ancientscripts.com/images/chinese_stages.gif

Accessed 07/22/16

[Online Source]

 

Figure 4

https://oldbluetruck.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/chineasy.jpg

Accessed 07/22/16

[Online Source]

 

Figure 5

http://wangzhihong.com/You-Are-the-April-of-This-World

Accessed 07/22/16

[Online Source]

 

Figure 6

http://huaban.com/pins/37724765
http://www.mydesy.com/24-solar-term-character

Accessed 07/22/16

[Online Source]

 

Figure 7

http://www.zcool.com.cn/work/ZMjk1MDY3Ng==.html

Accessed 07/22/16

[Online Source]

 

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